GavelBW

Divorce in Pennsylvania: First Steps

Deciding to get divorced can be one of the most excruciating decisions you’ll ever make. We understand the stress and emotional toll that deciding to get divorced can take on you.

Kulick Law is experienced in all forms of Family Law, including divorce. Here are the important things you need to know to take the first steps toward divorce in Pennsylvania:

Residency

The first issue of concern is residency: at least one spouse must have permanently lived in Pennsylvania for a minimum of 6 months before filing for divorce in PA.

No Fault or Fault-Based Divorce

In Pennsylvania you may file for a No Fault Divorce IF you and your spouse both consent to the divorce. However, there is a possibility that the spouses will not consent to divorce.  Under such circumstances – and due to behavior of one of the spouses – fault-based grounds may be used to start a divorce action.

No Fault

In Pennsylvania, if both spouses agree to divorce you may file for a No Fault Divorce. If you both mutually agree to divorce, you must both file an affidavit stating that both parties consent to the divorce.  However, there is a “waiting period” prior to filing the Affidavit.  Subsequently, the Court will finalize the divorce and issue a Decree.  However, there is no need for a hearing in a no fault divorce.

Fault-Based Divorce

In Pennsylvania, the alternative to a no-fault divorce is a fault-based divorce.  In a fault-based divorce, a party is making allegations that, due to the other party’s behavior, result in grounds for a divorce action to be filed and ultimately a Decree entered (possibly based on those same reasons).  A spouse can file a fault-based divorce action when that person believes their spouse has been involved in any of the following activities:

  • Abandonment
  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Cruel and Barbarous Treatment
  • Spouse has been imprisoned for more than 2 years

For either type of divorce you must file with your local court to begin the proceedings. Then the paperwork must be sent to your spouse.

If you are served with divorce paperwork:

You may be on the receiving end of divorce papers; you may have expected this or it may have been a surprise.  Ignoring the paperwork may mean that you lose certain legal rights.  You need to be proactive.  There are many different aspects you should be aware of when facing this situation:  some cases involve property division and custody matters, to name a few.  You should consult an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible.

Property Division / Custody

If you and your spouse own a home together, you cannot keep your spouse from the home. The division of property can be complex and stressful, and you really need an attorney on your side if you are facing these issues.

Similarly, custody issues may also be a part of your divorce proceedings where a Court will need to make a decision on such matters.  This is an extremely stressful time for both you and your child.  You need an attorney who will understand this.  If custody is part of your divorce action, having an experienced family law attorney on your side is crucial.

The Kulick Law Firm is experienced in all aspects of divorce law in Pennsylvania, and represent Lackawanna and Luzuerne Counties, including Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.

More information on Divorce in PA from the Pennsylvania Bar Association: http://www.pabar.org/clips/divorceandseparation.pdf

Photo credit: gavel via photopin (license).

Comments are closed.